Most of our lives in the ministry, we have lived in places not readily recognized by many people. When asked where we lived, our answers sounded like this: "It's in Hill County, just North of Hillsboro." "On the outskirts of Wichita Falls." "Midway between Dallas and Texarkana." Now we live in a city so famous we don't even have to say "Texas" after it. Ironically, I feel less known here than in the "unknown" places.
Wherever you are serving and ministering, God knows you. He remembers you. He sees you. He uses you. He did not send you there to forget or ignore you.
I recently read a true story sent in to a magazine. It involved a Marine Lieutenant on a military training exercise. The commanding officer saw the Marine ambling about, and asked him where his foxhole was. The Marine saluted and answered, " I don't know, sir. Where is my foxhole?" The commander replied, "You're standing in it. All you have to do is remove the dirt."
In other words, your place is the place where you are. Dig in!
- Decide to embrace it. Whether you are thirty minutes from the nearest grocery store, or feeling suffocated in a crowded city, a lot of liking a place is deciding to. I have lived in places where people were like me, and places where they were not. A pleasant outlook can take you a long way toward satisfaction.
- Know your people. Be interested in their stories. Soon they may be interested in yours. Learn about the culture of the place. If your people relate to farming cotton, pumping oil, bringing in shrimp or whatever they do, learn about it. For example, one of our churches was in an area known for their many dairies. Did you know that there is a difference in the milk from a black-and-white Holstein cow and a brown Jersey cow? The black-and-whites give more milk, and the Jerseys give creamier milk. So one is used for drinking and the other for things like ice cream. l learned by listening and asking sincere questions. Put forth the effort to get to know your people. They will notice and appreciate it.
- See your place as Jesus sees it. He made your landscape and those individuals in it. He loves each one, because of and in spite of the ways they are! Each one is a fellow struggler, along with you, trying to find meaning and love in their place. You and your husband have been intentionally called there to bring them to Jesus and make disciples. Keep the big picture in mind.
For this time, this is your place to fulfill your role in God's kingdom work. "He sees and knows all the way you have trod."